Nightmare Boy [Switch] Review

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Looks like the next S2S title for PSVG to take a look at is The Vanir’s Project’s latest work, Nightmare Boy. As per the usual, Nightmare Boy has been out for a while on the PC platform, giving the developers a healthy chance to fix bugs and smoothly port over to the Nintendo console.

Also per the usual, it’s one of those games I never heard of thanks to Valve’s horrifying game representation system and with that frame of mind, I can assume that being a single player platformer, the game is at risk of not being well known by the masses. I am here to fix that, for better or worse. Check it out!

So, the game starts with some well put music and hand-drawn animation as Billy, our game’s protagonist is reading some obscured book when his own pillow, teeth jutting out from the side, turns into some nightmarish demon and decides that our boy is the perfect candidate for a wild scheme in some fantasy world called Donoruk. Some nasty funk happened with the king and his now-dead son, who strikes a remarkable resemblance to the newly transformed Billy. Having not  a darn clue as to why he’s in the new world and what he needs to do, Billy is forced to traverse a Metroidvania-esque realm riddled with monsters, trippy bosses, and an assortment of interesting character who are more than happy to assist- and hinder- Billy’s progress to get back home.Once I’m left to my own device to battle through the B-cast of Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas, I immediately realized that I didn’t know the controls and there wasn’t any tutorial, although to be fair the inputs are simple enough, if not awkwardly positioned on the joycons. I did not find any way to reconfigure them, unfortunately, forcing me to deal with how to jump and attack.

 

Playing it mostly in handheld mode, I also noticed that it suffered the same quality as Xenoblade Chronicles 2 in that it began to chug and drop frame rates more often than anyone would prefer. The music is ambient and fluid as you ramble about, and the dialogue is decent with occasional moments of ingenuity. I was kind of upset with the relationship with Death though, as it’s a lowkey save station with little to no dialogue. The dude is Death. Give him some personality, not some secretary job with the same twelve words to say every time he charges me (increasingly) to save your progress. That being said, it did feel like the characters important to the plot were shallow at best, and one-noted at worst, and left the dialogue desperately needing more depth in the beginning. That’s a personal squabble, however, and if you feel a deeper plot is not as important as the gameplay in a Metroidvania, then more power to you; you might like this game after all.

 

All in all, it’s your standard game with collectibles, difficult maneuvering, and some above average boss battles. It didn’t hype me into wanting to play extensively, but I can see where this will appeal to certain groups of players. For ten bucks on the eShop, this is a decent game to try out if you have some gift cards laying around and don’t know what to blow it on. Don’t expect greatness, but if you can settle with it being an indie title, you’ll have a good time.

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